Stanley Baker was one of the 1950's and 60's most reliable and interesting leading men, and his untimely death at the early age of 48 was very tragic, robbing us of a unique talent.
Many of his films are frequently revived on TV but 'Violent Playground' isn't among them, which is a shame, because it's a good, tense thriller. I imagine the climax of the film, in which small school children are kept hostage at gunpoint in their classroom, could explain why the film is rarely shown, given the events which occured at Dunblane and elsewhere in recent years.
Stanley Baker is excellent as the police detective who is assigned against his will as a juvenile liason officer in a tough area of Liverpool. We follow his progress, initially resentful of his new role until he begins to see the value of his work. The main plot of the film deals with his struggle with a very young David McCallum, a juvenile delinquent and arsonist who bullies his contemporaries and whose life spirals completely out of control.
The location filming in Liverpool is fascinating, but for some reason the producers decided to use a London location for the school siege - I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw a London trolleybus going past in the background (Liverpool never had a trolleybus system)!!
The DVD transfer is very good, sharp, crisp and well contrasted.
A worthy additon to anyone's collection of British cinema.